Chicagoland: Travis Kvapil preview

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 5, 2005) - The No. 77 Penske-Jasper Racing team will trade in the well-known Kodak gold paint scheme this weekend as Travis Kvapil pilots the Jasper Engines and Transmissions yellow Dodge at Chicagoland Speedway. In ...

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 5, 2005) - The No. 77 Penske-Jasper Racing team will trade in the well-known Kodak gold paint scheme this weekend as Travis Kvapil pilots the Jasper Engines and Transmissions yellow Dodge at Chicagoland Speedway.

In addition to JET taking over primary sponsorship for the third time in the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule, Kvapil has other things to "worry about."

"Chicagoland is about as close to home as I can get in the Cup Series," Kvapil said. "I want to run well in front of friends and family who have supported me over the years. I also want to run well for Jasper. Doug [Bawel] and Jasper have been around forever it seems, as a sponsor, and a good run would suit them well."

While Kvapil's 1.5-mile track statistics have not shown it this year, the Wisconsin native says he feels most comfortable on them.

"I don't know what it is about the 'mile-and-a-halfers'," Kvapil said. "I think I just feel more stable on them. I have a lot of confidence in the cars on those tracks. The results posted in the books don't reflect what we did, but I know."

Kvapil and the No. 77 team felt like they had a good car at Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this year, but he never made it one complete lap after taking the green flag at the race's beginning.

At Texas Motor Speedway, his luck wasn't much better as a car spinning down the track on lap 32 made contact with Kvapil's Jasper Engines and Transmission's Dodge, requiring a trip to the garage for a new radiator as well as body damage repairs.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Lowe's Motor Speedway were different.

After starting the Las Vegas event from the sixth position, Kvapil had to settle for a 26th-place finish.

"Las Vegas was the ticket," Kvapil said. "We had a Mobil 1 paint scheme on the car and we put on a show. The guys were fired up, I was fired up; it was just a good deal all around."

At LMS, Kvapil led the NEXTEL Open and the Coca-Cola 600 and found a little more confidence.

"Charlotte was pretty awesome, too," Kvapil added. "I knew we had a good car and I did something with it. Leading at Charlotte was pretty fantastic in [both the NEXTEL Open and the Coca-Cola 600]. I just need to do it again."

Kvapil's confidence could use a boost from a strong run. His best finish in the 2005 season was seventh at Bristol Motor Speedway in April. The closest he has come since are two 17th-place finishes at Dover International Speedway and Pocono Raceway last month.

"This team has struggled this year and we are still struggling," Kvapil said. "We know we are at [the Cup] level for a reason and we know we can do it. We just need to find it. Maybe what we have been looking for is at Chicago and maybe we can show off our bright yellow paint scheme. It's hard to miss on the track."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Travis Kvapil